This week marks six months until the biggest four days of 2023 for the world’s best canoe sprint and paracanoe athletes, as they look to book tickets for the 2024 Paris Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Duisburg in Germany will host the 2023 ICF Canoe Sprint and Paracanoe World Championships in August, which will also double as an Olympic and Paralympic qualifying event. It means athletes will be trying to earn Paris quotas for their federations.

It will be a welcome return to the German canoe sprint headquarters for the international canoeing family, ten years exactly since the city last hosted an ICF world championships. The last time Duisburg hosted an Olympic qualifier was in 2007, ahead of the Beijing Games.

Duisburg also hosted world championships the year before the Atlanta, Seoul, and Moscow Olympics.

A handful of athletes who figured prominently at the 2013 Duisburg world championships will be front and centre in August. New Zealand’s Lisa Carrington finished third behind Hungary’s Danuta Kozak in the K1 500 in 2013, but has since become the Olympic champion.

The unknown this year is who will be representing Hungary in the event. Kozak, who won K4 500 gold in Tokyo, won Olympic gold in London and Rio, but missed a medal behind Carrington in Tokyo. Teammate Tamara Csipes took silver in Tokyo, but did not contest the event at last year’s ICF world championships.

Two prominent Germans from 2013 are expected to be back this year. Tom Liebscher, who was still a teenager when he contested the K1 500 and the 4 x K1 200 relay in 2013, has gone on to become a two-time Olympic gold medalist and six-time world champion. This year he will be once again part of Germany’s powerful K4 500 crew.

And Sebastian Brendel, who took silver in the C1 1000 ten years ago, has been talking about retirement since the Tokyo Olympics. But the three-time Olympic gold medalist and 13-time ICF world champion is believed to still be in full training.

The favourite for the C1 1000 will be Brazil’s Isaquias do Santos, the gold medalist from Tokyo. In 2013 dos Santos won the C1 500 and finished third in the C1 1000.

In 2013 Spain’s Saul Craviotto was already an Olympic gold and silver medalist. The Spanish celebrity masterchef champion is hoping to qualify for his fifth Olympic Games, where he’ll look to continue his record of winning a medal at every Games he has contested.

Craviotto was a member of Spain’s world championship winning K4 500 crew in Canada last year, and their duel with Germany and Ukraine in August will be an event highlight.

Poland’s Karolina Naja has also won a medal at every Olympics she has attended, and will be hoping to make Polish Olympic history in Paris next as part of a women’s K4 500 crew who will likely start favourites for the title. It would be Naja’s fourth Games.

Naja enjoyed a successful world championships in Duisburg ten years ago, winning two silver and one bronze medal.

In paracanoe the Duisburg championships should see the return of the world’s most successful Paralympic paddler, Curtis McGrath. The Australian took time away from the sport last year, but has set his sights on winning another two gold medals in Paris to add to the three he has already won.

The world will be watching to see if two-time Paralympic and multiple world champion, Serhii Yemelianov, will be back racing. The Ukrainian took time away from the sport to help his country’s war effort against Russia, which included him auctioning his Tokyo gold to help raise funds for the military.

Ukrainian teammates Mykola Syniuk and Maryna Mazhula are both expected to be prominent again, the latter resuming her battle with Germany’s Edina Mueller which has seen them trade gold medals at recent international outings.

The British paracanoe team will once again be powerful, led by Tokyo gold medalists Charlotte Henshaw, Emma Wiggs and Laura Sugar.

The 2023 ICF Canoe Sprint and Paracanoe World Championships will run from August 23 to 27 in Duisburg, Germany.  


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